In 2012, Jennifer Dubois BAdmin’16 was one of the prize winners in CBC’s Boom Box Indigenous business competition. Her pitch to open an Indigenous hair salon and spa landed her second place, $1,500 and three months of business mentorship. Five years later, Dubois realized her dream when she opened Miyosiwin Salon Spa.
Sadly, Dubois’ dream business was decimated by a fire that started at a neighbouring business. Dubois is determinedly working to rebuild the salon. She assures her clients that Miyosiwin will open again soon. If you want to reach out to Dubois, you can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiyosiwinSalon.
- What is the main philosophy behind Miyosiwin Salon Spa?
- To break down barriers and to create a comfortable and familiar space for Indigenous and non-indigenous clients.
- What were the factors that made you decide to open your own business?
- I always wanted to be my own boss. After working for various jobs and businesses, I could never feel fully satisfied even though I’ve worked in some amazing positions.
- What is the best thing about self-employment?
- The best thing about being self-employed is making my own decisions for the business – that’s also the scariest thing.
- What are some of the considerations of cutting hair in an Indigenous cultural sense?
- It’s about understanding that there is a spiritual connection to hair. You can still give a great style or cut while also respecting cultural beliefs. Being culturally aware of what protocols your clients follow instills a trusting relationship with them.
- Why has it been important to you for your children to be involved in traditional dance?
- We want our children to know their culture and to be able to carry on the traditions that were passed on before them. It’s also about self-expression, identity and for them to know where they come from, which will help ground them.
- What advice do you have for any budding entrepreneurs?
- Every setback, barrier or obstacle is an opportunity. Don’t give up. There are times when you may feel alone, but there’s so much support out there. Sometimes you just need to ask.
- Are we seeing more Indigenous entrepreneurs?
- Yes, we are seeing more because more people are investing in Indigenous entrepreneurship. If it wasn’t for Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation, I would not have had the opportunity to start my business when I did. I’m forever grateful for the program that helped make my dream a reality.
- What was the most important attribute you acquired during your university studies?
- There is so much that I learned in university that has helped me on my journey. But it’s the connections and friendships that I’ve made along the way that are most important.